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Teenager Touched by Worship


No More Hollow Words and Empty Gestures

By Morgan Feldmeyer

Matthew West’s song, “The Motions,” says, “I don’t want to go through the motions. I don’t want to go one more day, without Your [God’s] all consuming passion inside of me. I don’t want to spend my whole life asking, ‘What if I had given everything?’ instead of going through the motions.” [1] Every time I hear those words play on the radio, I think back to that one night at a church youth rally in Tennessee, where I first experienced real raw worship.

The darkened theater-like sanctuary of the church which at first had been filled with the laughter and whispers of hundreds of teenagers, pre-teens, and college kids, had grown still as the clear twinkling notes of a bright red keyboard floated from the stage to the far recesses of the room. The music poured from the fingertips of an auburn haired young woman who sang the words, “My heart is open and I’m crying out,” as sweetly as she played. [2] People began to sway from side to side as the long deep chords of the electric guitar joined the keyboard to pierce the darkness. At the same moment, the woman’s voice dropped to a fiery register as she sang, “All composure aside. I’m opened wide to You.” [3] One by one every voice in the room rose to match the woman’s.

Then with closed eyes and an upturned face, the woman cried, “I say yes. I say yes. I’m Yours,” with such an intensity and passion that she seemed to be talking directly to God. [4]As she sang the same lines over and over, both the music and people’s emotions began to swell. Eyes dipped closed and hands raised toward Heaven, as the drums, violin, base, and acoustic guitar joined in “crying out,” to the Lord. [5] In that moment, I closed my eyes in surrender to the rich music, to the earnest words, and to the enduring God for whom the words were created.

Gradually, the music dropped to a steady trickle and then faded until only the voices of the woman and the youthful audience, were left. The woman’s voice became softer and softer and then she too faded into the all-consuming sea of harmonies that reverberated through the room. I opened my eyes and the sight I saw took my breath away: hundreds of adolescents and young adults with arms raised, heads bowed, and tears streaming down their faces, proclaimed in unison that they belonged to God. My heart cracked. Like the multi-colored strands of a tapestry, every person in the room was unique and yet, every person was united in showing their unwavering devotion to God.

This was what I wanted; this pure devotion. This was what I needed; this reckless abandon. From that moment on, I knew that I would never be content if I only offered God hollow words and empty hand gestures. From that moment on, I knew my life would be spent pursing and helping others pursue the freedom of surrendering everything to God in worship; for I will not “go through the motions [, not]…one more day.” [6]


[1] Matthew West, “The Motions,” YouTube video, 04:03, posted June 2, 2009, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUg9qE_KjLg.

[2] Abby Brown, “I Say Yes,” Abby Brown Live, (Such a Time as This Publishing, 2012).

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Matthew West, “The Motions,” YouTube video, 04:03, posted June 2, 2009, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUg9qE_KjLg.


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